Tag Archives: tennessee

Take a backroad

snapchat-5802873079169095575Through the years, the world has been brought into our homes first by print, then radio, television and eventually internet. At the tips of our fingers we can “visit” anywhere in the country, and “meet” amazing people. I know I have found some of my best friends via message boards, Twitter, and countless other social websites over the last 15 – 20 years. But is any of it as amazing as “real life?”

My husband and so many of our friends travel across this country all year long, seeing places and meeting people most of us can only dream of experiencing outside of our laptops and smart phones. A couple we consider dear friends has recently embarked on moving across the country, taking their time to visit many of this country’s National Parks. Their photos and Snapchats take my breath away.

I love that they are doing this. Sometimes I sit back and think how I could never just pack up and move as they have done, shaking my head a bit thinking, “they’re crazy.” But even more, though, I marvel at their courage, and I think to myself that maybe they’ve got life figured out way better than any of the rest of us.

My husband and I haven’t taken our friends lead to the extreme that they’ve gone, but we have taken more time the last few weeks to just get away from the house and get out in the world. My husband’s tour schedule is slowing down a bit, and we have more days together to enjoy versus just trying to tackle a to do list. We we’ve headed out with no destination in mind. We may not venture far, but we do escape “real life” for awhile and find… real life. We find the places you can find on the internet or in the news.


On a recent ride, we stumbled upon a little community not too far from Nashville. We’d been riding for a long time, and we were starting to get sore and a little grumpy with thirst. The little general store was like an oasis. Complete with two older gentlemen sitting out front.

As my husband went inside to get us drinks, I was happy to stretch my legs in the parking lot and look at the map on my phone to determine where we were.

But once I looked up and out of my phone, I found myself very quickly enamored with the little community. American flags. Old trucks in the parking lot right beside newer SUVs. People pulling up to the pumps and exchanging greetings with the gentlemen out front.

You could immediately tell this was a close-knit community full of “good ol’ boys and girls.” No one had an age or race attached to them. No one had a hierarchy of jobs or successes on paper. There was an underlying level of respect for all who stopped in to the store.

This. This, I felt in my own heart, was the true heartbeat of America. Not the anger and upset shown on the media. American flags swayed in the soft breeze, and you felt a patriotism and honor in every corner.

When my husband came back with drinks, I told him we should scrap all of our life plans. Sell everything, move to the country and open a general store like this one. He laughed and told me I might be surprised how easy it would be to convince him to do that.


As we put on our helmets and rode away, back home as the sun set, I felt this peace and certainty that deep down the heart of America is as strong as it ever was. I said a prayer that little communities like the one we had just stopped in continue to thrive in their own ways. And I definitely planned to take more back roads and discover more gems hidden along the blacktops and gravel roads.

Tag, that’s it

Today, I had to go renew the tags on my truck. It’s a yearly task that I just really don’t like to go do. For one thing, its one more thing to attempt to budget into my expenses (which never really happens, but I’m trying). For another, it always ends up taking a lot of time out of my day. So, I embarked on my task with a bit of a grumpy attitude already.

Emissions testing
Sitting in line for emissions testing

First stop, emissions testing. Growing up in small-town Texas, this was not a task I had to do before moving to Nashville. (Instead I had to do a state inspection, which is far more involved but it’s not a part of getting tags.) Of course, I pick the lane taking the longest to go through.  I amuse myself with Twitter while I wait… okay, I whine on Twitter while I wait.

Wouldn’t you know, though, that I get up to the front of the line and it takes my truck maybe a minute to be done. Made me shake my head to myself. Wait half an hour for the four cars ahead of me, only to fly through myself. But, hey, it was done and I was free to go.

Off I went to the county clerk’s office to get my tags. Only problem: I found the closest clerk’s office boarded up! What? I just drove by a couple weeks ago and they were there…

Understand, I am big on details. I like to have everything laid out ahead of time. I had the exact amount for my tags figured and the check written. I had all my paper work paper clipped in my passenger seat. I had planned this all down to the most minute detail. But I DIDN’T KNOW THE CLERK’S OFFICE MOVED!

So, I quickly found a parking lot to pull into, and I pulled out my handy-dandy Droid Incredible phone. I quickly Googled the clerk’s office and found in the bottom corner their new address. I copy and pasted it into my Navigator, and off I went to the new location, which just so happened to be a block from the vehicle emissions testing location.

Only, the address I had didn’t take me to the clerk’s office. It took me the National Guard!  I drove all around there, and I never could find the clerk’s office! I wasted a good 45 minutes just looking for an office that I’m not sure exists any more. I was annoyed and flustered by this time. (I’ve since looked the address up again and got the same location as my phone took me to. I’m so confused!)

I found another place to pull over, and I mapped my way to the clerk’s office the next town over.  Over 20 minutes away, and I knew the office closed in 30 minutes. Any traffic hang-ups and I’d be left out to dry for the day.

But, I went for it. I’d spent all this time on this task already, I might as well finish it. So off I went.  My Navigator took me right to the front door of the office, and I got in line to go drive-thru for renewals. I was about seven cars back from the window… and the line wasn’t moving. I looked at the clock and weighed my options.

See… I’ve been in the drive-thru line at the clerks office at closing time, and they didn’t care that there were cars already there. When it was closing time, they closed the window and refused to serve anyone else. I did NOT want that to happen to me again. I decided to back out of the line and find somewhere to park. Surely they wouldn’t throw me out physically if I got in the door before they closed.

I grabbed my neatly paper clipped stack of papers and went inside. I almost didn’t believe my eyes. There were two ladies just sitting there without anyone at their windows. I walked right up, and since I had everything together I was done less than five minutes. I couldn’t help but turn to look at the drive-thru as I strolled to my truck. It hadn’t moved an inch! SCORE! Finally, something went right.

Of course, then I couldn’t find my way back out of town without my Navigator, and it did try to take me the wrong way down one-way streets. (But, I AM smart enough to not follow any GPS blindly.) Of course, this was the one time I didn’t pack my phone charger, so by the time I got home, my battery was dead right along with my nerves frazzled.  I didn’t even put the tags on my truck yet, because I figured with my luck today I’d end up slicing my finger trying to get the old tags off!

At least this is a task that I hate to do that is done for another year. And I am going to keep in mind that I need to double check addresses before I leave the house — even to places that I’ve been to before. You never know when they’ll have moved and you’ll end up chasing your own tail. It is just a waste of time, gas, and frustration.